Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, a Boeing 737 MAX 8, departing Bole Airport in Addis Ababa for Nairobi, went off radar six minutes after taking off on March 10, at 8.39am local time and crashed, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew.
This was the fifth Bole Airport departure-related crash where people died, the second in fatalities being in November 1996 in which 125 people died, including renowned Kenyan photojournalist Mohamed Amin.
There have also been seven crashes involving aircraft destined for Bole Airport in which people died, the first being on March 20, 1947 involving a US Air Force plane when six people were killed.
Below are other facts related to the March 10 accident:
- This is the airline’s most fatal crash, followed by the November 22, 1996 hijacking and crashing of the Boeing 767-200 in the Comoros, killing 125 of the 175 passengers and crew.
- The last major crash was on January 25,2010, when Ethiopian Airlines' flight 409, a Boeing 737-800, caught fire five minutes after take-off from Beirut and plunged into the Mediterranean Sea, two miles off the Lebanese coast, killing all 90 passengers and crew.
- Ethiopian Airlines, founded in 1945, has had 64 fatal and non-fatal accidents since 1965, claiming 482 lives, according to the Aviation Safety Network. Some 349 of the deaths were departure-related.
The MAX 8 factor
- The latest disaster is the second in less than six months involving the Boeing 737 MAX 8, raising questions about its safety.
- On 29 October, a Lion Air-operated Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed into the Java Sea after take-off from Jakarta, killing 189 people. The model has been involved in 12 other incidents since 2018 but with no fatalities.
- The 737 MAX series is offered in four variants, typically offering 138 to 230 seats.
- The first MAX 8 was handed over to Malindo Air (a subsidiary of Lion Air) on May 16, 2017 and entered service on May 22.
- China has one of the world's largest fleets of Boeing 737 MAX 8, operating 97 of the planes.
- China, Ethiopia and the Cayman Islands are some of the countries that have temporarily stopped operating the Max 8.
- There were more than 500 deaths stemming from passenger airline crashes around the world in 2018, according to Dutch aviation consulting firm To70 and the Aviation Safety Network, but both emphasised that fatal crashes remain rare.
- 2014 had the highest number of fatalities (911) since 2013.
- In 2019, there have been 23 accidents involving aircraft that carry 12 passengers and above, of which nine have had casualties totalling to 198.